From Madison Avenue to Ecommerce Mastery: The Evolution of Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit - with Matthew Baron

As the founder of Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit, Matthew “Baron” Baron has been working with advertising and marketing since 1995. Working at the advertising agencies Mad Dogs And Englishmen and The Food Group. Producing advertising for the US Army, BMW, and Petsmart. Worked as an Assistant on the movies Man On Fire, The Pirates Of The Caribbean, Bad Boys 2, Kingdom Of Heaven, National Treasure, Punctionality, and Not For Nothing.

Previous online businesses include TheWoofer.com, ChurrascoShop.com, EpicToys.com, and PhiladelphiaRestaurantCleaning.com.

EPISODE SNAPSHOT

[03:33] – The Power of Mascots in Food Marketing
Baron and Scott discuss memorable marketing campaigns and the use of mascots, like Mr. Peanut, to make brands more relatable and memorable to consumers.

[06:34] – Transition from Advertising to Ecommerce
Baron talks about his background in advertising, his work on iconic campaigns, and how this experience laid the groundwork for his shift towards ecommerce with Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit.

[10:37] – The Birth of Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit
Baron recounts how he identified a gap in the market for bulk purchases of nuts and dried fruits online and decided to start his own business immediately after a previous employment ended.

[20:03] – Understanding the Customer Base and Their Needs
Baron explains the diverse customer base for Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit, ranging from survivalists to vegan bodybuilders, and how understanding these niches has shaped his business strategy.

[47:33] The Future of Food and Ecommerce
Baron shares his insights on the evolving food industry, including the importance of certifications like organic and gluten-free, and predicts how ecommerce will continue to shape the way we buy and consume food.

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

In this episode, we meet Matthew “Baron” Baron, the visionary behind Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit, in a compelling episode that traces his journey from the bustling world of Madison Avenue advertising to the forefront of Ecommerce innovation. Discover how Matthew’s passion for food and marketing expertise led him to create a thriving online platform that specializes in providing fresh, high-quality nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to customers nationwide.

Matthew shares the unique challenges and opportunities of selling perishable goods online, the importance of website speed and SEO in driving business growth, and the future trends in the food industry, including the increasing demand for certifications like organic and gluten-free. This episode is packed with insights into the changing landscape of Ecommerce, the vital role of diverse sales channels, and the creative strategies that have positioned Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit as a leader in the online marketplace.

Listeners will also get a behind-the-scenes look at the sourcing and distribution intricacies of bringing the freshest farm products to your doorstep. Matthew also discusses his commitment to education through his blog, where he dives into the fascinating history and science of food.

Whether you’re a food enthusiast, Ecommerce professional, or someone interested in the intersection of technology and traditional industries, this episode offers valuable lessons on adapting to and thriving in the digital age. 

 

MENTIONED DURING THIS EPISODE

Matthew Baron LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-baron-85bbb020b/

Wholesale Nuts and Dried Fruit: https://wholesalenutsanddriedfruit.com

SPONSOR

This episode is brought to you by Ecommerce Optimizers

At Ecommerce Optimizers, we specialize in helping Ecommerce brands in one focused area: and that’s making your website easier to use so that more of your visitors buy from you. 

An easy-to-use website delivers a highly intuitive, straightforward, and smooth experience throughout the customer journey – making it much easier and more enjoyable to do business with you. This translates into a wide variety of business-building benefits, including increased revenue, higher profits, and happier, loyal customers who buy from you time and time again. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we make Ecommerce sites easier to use and how our services might benefit your business, head on over to our website at EcommerceOptimizers.com and check out all the details.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Scott Reid 00:00
Welcome to the Ecommerce Optimizers Show. I’m your host, Scott Reid. This episode is brought to you by Ecommerce Optimizers. We specialize in helping ecommerce brands in one focused area, and that’s making your website easier to use so that more of your visitors buy from you. An easy to use website delivers a highly intuitive, straightforward and smooth experience throughout the customer journey, making it much easier and more enjoyable to do business with you. Now, this translates into a wide variety of business building benefits, including increased revenue, higher profits, and happier loyal customers who buy from you time and time again. If you’d like to learn more about how we make e commerce sites easier to use, and how our services might benefit your business, head on over to our website at ecommerceoptimizers.com and check out all the details. 

All right, so on today’s show, we have Matthew Barron from Wholesale nuts and dried fruit. Now Matthew, he goes by Baron. He goes by his last name because and what’s the reason for that? I was just telling him I was just telling Baron that a buddy of mine does the exact same thing.

Matthew Baron 01:18
I’ve worked in a lot of marketing departments. And there’s always a ton of other Matthews. So to avoid the plague of being called Matty B. This has been a plague for most my early like, somewhere around 2425. It came on and I’ve been there ever since. Great.

Scott Reid 01:36
That’s that’s good to know what we’ll we’ll go by Baron for the rest of the episode here. Definitely a cool name. So once you tell us about yourself and how you got into how you got into the wholesale nuts and dried fruit and seeds business.

Matthew Baron 01:53
Well, thank you so much for having me, Scott. I started with food advertising on Madison Avenue when I was about 19 I started working for an ad agency that just had food. I became fascinated by it. You know all the different media that you can work in billboards and TV commercials. I worked in fish and soft drinks and candy and an Uncle Ben’s race? Not really. Yeah, I mean just a ton of brands and a bunch of products that I loved for sure. The amount of the sheer amount of Ugu chocolate Drake that I worked on while working on Ugu chocolate drink was incredible. That led me into commercials and a love of commercials. And then I started working for RSA films, which is a leader in in making commercials if you remember the apple 1984 commercial that was and so then I started working for Ridley and Tony Scott as an assistant to them for a few years worked on a number of movies and internet videos, things like that if you saw BMW films that was made and then started traveling to work in marketing departments traveling to work on commercials. I still love commercials I’ve got a list of commercials having to do with people inside not and and fruit costumes I mean I’ve got a whole list of them

Scott Reid 03:31
Mr. Peanut obviously I haven’t Mr.

Matthew Baron 03:33
Peanut costume that is waiting for his spring run off the place which is just the things you can do with a Mr. Peanut costume especially now that there’s so much press and news around kids that are allergic to peanuts. Oh yeah. So you know, just the the amount of that I’ve worked with a lot of child actors as well. So I just you know have this love of the silliness of the nuts and dried fruits and seeds business when I started

Scott Reid 04:07
Yeah, I got to ask you something. So when you said Uncle Ben’s thing, first thing that pops into my head is bringing home the good goodness of rice again, is that were you involved with that one at all? Or is that did that predate your your entry into the into that account?

Matthew Baron 04:24
So I’ll say exactly I did on the account. I was 19 I would wear a button up shirt and tie every day to the office. I had an extremely difficult boss legendary boss event. And I was in charge of organizing all the recipes for a contest where people could win a year supply of this this you know rice and different packs. You could win a whole year supply if you gave them a recipe and even have a set of judges and I got the ran the whole process. You know seven judges that were professional chefs, and they would judge who delivered the best recipe. And that person will get a year supply of Uncle Ben’s rice. And so, yeah, there was no, there was no big event, I really had hoped for big event, you know, where it was just, you know, in the online space was all written in, they would hand write them and mail them in. And I just, I just love that that first foray into marketing. That’s it.

Scott Reid 05:30
So I didn’t mean to interrupt you. But I did have to, I did have to ask you that because that jingle just jumps out in my in my brain when you say Uncle Ben’s,

Matthew Baron 05:36
but I would work with all the people who would do all the writing account service for it, all the different creative pieces, you know, the people who would find coupons, and the people that would design, you know, billboards or ads in different languages to, you know, that’s that’s kind of not talked about it as much. But once you create an ad for something like Uncle Ben’s races to go international, so you have people who don’t speak another language, who have to do the graphic design and a brief shaping for everything that is a different language, you know, Arabic or, or Russian? Or, or, you know, French, they just have to, and, and they’re given the text and they and they resize it.

Scott Reid 06:19
That’s interesting. That’s for sure. So, so you worked in advertising? And how long did you work in that in that field before you before you made the jump outside of advertising and started doing something different?

Matthew Baron 06:34
Oh, well, I see that it’s been something that people really respect is that I’ve been in the industry for so long I looked at what I’m doing now is advertising marketing. I really look at the opportunity of food, and the way that people taste it and review it and care for it is so important, culturally. So I get the sense of, you know, it’s just an evolution, the way that people are feeling restaurants and Google Maps, the way that people are in supermarkets and they pull coupons out from those little machines that shoot the coupons out placements in supermarkets, or just like, placements online with SEO and ads. So I really look at it all as the same, the same thing. You know, I don’t get to work as much with restaurants. Sometimes I get to sell food to restaurants that are really off the beaten track. Right? Like they might be in New Hampshire, but they are super far from Costco or a, you know, Manchester or something. They’re just so far away. And so it’s hard for them to get like fresh supplies. And that way, you know, ecommerce is built for them. And then people that just live far away from city centers, you know, they just want to be able to store as much food. A big fan of the customers that I have are survivalists, especially gluten free survivalists. They are, they are my bread and my butter. No kidding.

Scott Reid 08:15
Is that because of the shelf life of your products, such Exactly,

Matthew Baron 08:19
yeah, so they want to have 100 pounds, or 200 pounds of quinoa, just, you know, waiting for them in their basement. And that’s real, you know, you’re in a place where winter is extreme. I’m coming to from Lancaster, Pennsylvania right now. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what you guys get for. Right?

Scott Reid 08:40
Yeah, cuz I’m in New Hampshire for for those who, for those who don’t know, and it has been very mild up here, unfortunately. But But yeah, it’s, it’s gonna be a different climate than then been. Pennsylvania for sure. Yeah. Now, how did you make the How did you make the decision to go into the of the fruit nut, the dried fruit, nut and seed business?

Matthew Baron 09:04
Sure. So I was doing SEO consulting, I found a love for SEO specifically, after I started launching my own products. So doing the search engine optimization is really something that I just fell in love with the data, the ability to be in a room with other businesses and really work on it. And so I got to work with a larger food company, international food source, and they dealt with pallets and containers of different kinds of food. I mean, candy. You might have heard of valued naturals, because they’re up there in different stores. If you were to walk into a gas station, you might see like, a 14 ounce bag of almonds sitting there and that’s valued Naturals. Okay, yeah. And so, you know, they did trail mix, which was really interesting. I’ve just a lot of things that I learned from that business, but they were not good with online. So like in and I brought a team, and we just clobbered it for them month after month, just hockey stick growth. And I just kept telling them, the wholesale businesses where people want to buy 25 pound boxes, they do not want an eight ounce bag. That’s that’s, that’s for that’s for the gas stations that’s for the supermarket’s that’s not for the online business. And they didn’t hear me and then they let me go. And I took my entire team and we started wholesale nuts and dried fruit the next day.

Scott Reid 10:37
And that’s about 10 years ago. That’s awesome. Well, and it certainly lends itself due to the nature of the product, as you’re talking about with the survivalist community and 100 pound containers. What’s the shelf life on on nuts and dried fruit and seeds. So

Matthew Baron 10:56
we talked about wallets wallets that have the least amount of shelf life because of the oil that they’re released. But let’s say that two weeks before you order it, the shells were broken, and it was put into bags, right, so fresh. Then you have probably four to six months, while it still tastes fresh. It’s probably good for another year to two. But after that the oils begin to eat it. And so it doesn’t. Well, like no matter how you can keep it in a freezer or frigerator. Almonds lasts for a lot longer. You can keep them for three or four years and they’ll still be good. When you don’t even taste the difference.

Scott Reid 11:36
Is that a really noticeable with walnuts because I’ve honestly I as we were talking about before I eat walnuts every morning with my with my muesli or oatmeal or whatever. And as

Matthew Baron 11:49
long as it’ll give you an extra 20 years of living, I do the same thing. You know, I

Scott Reid 11:55
can’t go without it. But I’m not. I’ve never really focused on the freshness of the walnut. Is that something that you can really taste like you yourself? Do you think that I would be able to to be sure to tell? Yeah,

Matthew Baron 12:07
yeah, I’ll send you a fresh sample of Walmart CEO for sure tastes a difference.

Scott Reid 12:12
Okay, and to be converted, I’m going to probably be going away from buying it at market guessing.

Matthew Baron 12:18
Well, unfortunately, almost all of our Walmart’s are growing in California. Yeah, it’s some exceptions. We have so many wallets that are exported something like 60% of the wallets. We grow our exports other countries. Really. Yeah, so it’s definitely over half. For sure. It probably fluctuates around 60%. And that’s just a lot. You know, it’s so easy to export because we import so much stuff, your chips go back and the containers got to go back where they come from. So we just export so many walnuts it’s crazy really are probably even more for almonds.

Scott Reid 12:55
And almonds. You said they have a three to four year shelf life. What other what other nuts?

Matthew Baron 13:00
Dark if they’re kept in the dark space like refrigerator, something like that. What’s great about almonds is you can soak them and they become soft, like gummy bears. Okay, and so yeah, so I just love soaking my almonds. Then there’s other things I mean pine nuts last a good amount of time. Cashews can last forever varying qualities. We’ve had a hard cash before we’re just trying to gnaw at it. Dried fruit stays for a long time. You know, blueberries like a dried blueberry is probably a year or two. Same thing with a cranberry. Cranberries are right by you and Massachusetts. That’s right over the border and grab some cranberries. Or

Scott Reid 13:49
my wife’s from Cape Cod cranberry cafe.

Matthew Baron 13:54
At least I want to spend some time in Cape Cod. It’s fantastic. Yeah,

Scott Reid 13:57
yeah. So malaria. Yeah, so

Matthew Baron 14:01
you know and then seeds last. I mean, I don’t know that forever. But seeds last several seeds, quinoa Chia that stuff. Excuse me will last for so long.

Scott Reid 14:18
And well, how about sourcing because I what I was prepping for our conversation this morning. I was checking out your YouTube channel and watch some videos and it looks like well it’s it doesn’t look like it’s really clear that you’re you’re sourcing from all over the world. Could you and that’s quite interesting to me is that you must have some very interesting conversations and learn a lot about different cultures and whatnot. Could you talk about that, like where you’re getting these products from and how and how that whole process works?

Matthew Baron 14:52
Well, my business is based on freshness to start off with. So if they need if Fresh chia seed in America, you know, I can get it fresh to the customers. I’m all about it. So we pick the freshest product rather than location. America that is awesome. I mean, we have Georgia, which makes things like peanuts, pecans. And then the processing because they’re in shells, right? You know, we have pine nuts. We have pine cones, right? You, you travel through America, you get pine cones. But getting the seat of them is extremely difficult and time intensive. And that’s why they cost so much money. So we get them from China. And maybe about 1% of the people are actually allergic to the pine nuts that they make in China. They’re not allergic to the Italian pine nuts, but they’re allergic to the Chinese planet. Interesting.

Scott Reid 15:56
1% of it is does it? Does it have the same anaphylactic reaction? Or is it as severe as?

Matthew Baron 16:04
Yeah, so someone corrected me on my blog recently? Because the idea was, oh, well, you can go into it have full access from these pilots, if you’re allergic to the vibe and one of those people. When they go Excuse me? I think it’s unlikely that it will. I again, not a doctor, but I believe it’s unlikely that it will kill you. I don’t haven’t heard from anyone in that regard. But there is a really interesting reaction where you stop tasting tongue swells up and you stop tasting, it’s not life threatening. But you it’s pretty terrible for like the next two or three days, apparently. Well,

Scott Reid 16:44
that’s gonna have to keep my eye out for Chinese pine nuts. And I don’t want to lose my sense of taste, that’s for sure.

Matthew Baron 16:51
And most of the pine nuts we get are Chinese pine nuts, just because it’s so rare that people want to take the part pine cones in America. They’re very unfriendly. Give it a Bolivia. places like Brazil making Brazil nuts. Which is kind of in Bolivia. And it’s, there’s some things that are becoming more rare because of like Amazon, deforestation, things like that, you know, so that will either change price or the ability of us to get them. And the Brazilian it’s one of those things. You know, pineapple can come from Thailand, coconut as well. Let’s see. Turkey for apricot. Turkey is like the number one place to grow an apricot. So I sell both Salford and unsulfured and apricots. What’s

Scott Reid 17:55
the what’s the? Could you explain the difference on that?

Matthew Baron 17:58
Sure. So when you think of apricot as you think of orange, apricot, it’s just great. And when they turn brown, they just have a look to them. So it’s basically a cosmetic thing. Doesn’t change the taste at all. Not that I’ve noticed. It’s more about the look, having an orange dried apricot is what you think of when you have an apricot. And that is with sulfur added that keeps the origin and stops the browning. Okay, so that’s 70% of the products I sell are all grown in America. You know, I mean, almonds are huge. I think 95% of the world’s almonds come from California.

Scott Reid 18:41
Is that right? Oh, yeah.

Matthew Baron 18:44
You know, and almonds didn’t exist, really to be eaten before a few 100 years ago. So there’s so many kind of new things that we brought to California, I mean, pistachios. You know, pecans are from America. So it’s an American delicacy. People are always writing me to see if they can export them to other countries. It’s challenging, but people try. You know, I get so many inquiries from other countries where people are not happy with the price of things. So they’re interested in buying in bulk. But you know, those sales don’t happen pretty much my entire business could be 25 pound boxes to Americans that are looking for exactly what they’re looking for fresh as possible.

Scott Reid 19:37
Now, I noticed on your site that the that you’re definitely selling in bulk, could you talk about your customer base, and we spoke about that briefly in terms of you have moms that might be buying sunflower seeds, and then you’re probably selling to restaurants and could you talk about that, that strategy that you have in terms of a customer base. Sure.

Matthew Baron 20:03
So, I found that the internet, especially with social media, is challenging for health food, right? Because we all know what it is like, we all know what a walnut is, or a peanut, like, we just know exactly what it is. So the real value of what I do is in SEO is people searching for a bulk amount of peanuts and bulk amount of walnuts. So the customers that are looking for their homes, right, where their offices, sometimes they get sent to their office. So they like x through the day is people who have specific diseases. They make themselves known on social media that they have a certain disease by joining certain groups, like about their treatments, then there’s people who are into bodybuilding, or they’re vegan bodybuilders. Or you have another one I like his bride zyliss, who had tried to do a vegan wedding, okay, they do the their own catering. So they just need 100 pounds of whatever for a specific event. You have people making their own trail mixes. And so you know, those people also have really, you know, members of their family that are afflicted by certain diseases, maybe not specifically celiac, but there’s IDs, there’s different cancers, that it’s the best way to fight cancer is to cut out the sugar. So you’ve got a, you’ve got a particular group of people that just are really passionate about the food they get.

Scott Reid 21:47
In you also, I thought it was really interesting, you talked about that you have some customers that are mothers who are looking for alternatives to peanut butter, and so they’re making sunflower butter. Yeah,

Matthew Baron 22:02
is super popular for making an alternative to peanut butter. A lot of schools because I’ve been trying to do a lot of charity work. And there’s a lot of schools, a lot of hospitals that do not want any nuts, not one nut in the entire facility. They’re all about the seeds, and they’re all about the dried fruit as a donation. You know, or to do an event, a fundraiser, you know, and they still can have nuts in their facility, which is just so fascinating. You know, the amount of people that are allergic to peanuts is so low, that the amount of people that are allergic to all the other nuts is crazy, low elbow, I really feel for those people, right labeling is so important, like accurate labeling. But yeah, alternatives are really, really interesting. As people want to make their own food, people always want to make their own food, make their own spreads make their own trail mix. Up the panda frolic today.

Scott Reid 23:08
How many? How many pounds of of sunflower seeds? Does it take me? I don’t know if you know this exactly. But does it take to create your typical jar of you know what it would be the equivalent of a normal jar of peanut butter? Um,

Matthew Baron 23:25
well, sunflower seeds just break down perfectly, right? Just broken down, just compressed and broken down. And, you know, just like you would have in like, a piece of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, you know, that just grind the peanut standard peanut butter and just surround it with something. So I want to say it’s almost a one to one, right? Like in terms of pounds, like a pound of sunflowers would lead up to a pound of sunflower

Scott Reid 23:57
is a solid yield out of that out of what they’re buying. Now, one thing that you did mention that you kind of touched on it was the when he talked about the school and the and the desire to have a, like a gluten free event or a nut free event or something like that. So when you talked about your distribution before we started recording, I found that to be very interesting in terms of and that’s definitely a challenge, I would imagine in terms of mainly talking about how your your warehouse, your storage or distribution network. Could you talk about that? Because that was a unique challenge that I found to be interesting that would also apply to other businesses that might have an E commerce component to them. And they do that are dealing in similar products that that you’re dealing with.

Matthew Baron 24:50
So I would say that my dream for my business over the nine years has been to offer different services. occations to different customers, right? Obviously, the USDA organic certification is the most expensive and the most, maybe worthwhile, the non GMO. I always toyed with the non GMO because none of my products can actually be genetically modified. Yeah. So science can’t genetically modify the nuts, the fruit or any of the seeds that I have. So it just doesn’t happen, right? They mess with corn and sugar and all the other soy. I mean, they don’t, they don’t play in my playground. So I don’t have to worry about genetic modification. And there are other ones kosher certification. Gluten Free certification is always a challenge. So I just figured I would have one facility that just could do that. Like you don’t have it sealed into different places in the facility. Right, they would each have to have a different air supply. That’s where it gets really interesting. The air of non gluten free stuff can’t touch on gluten certified foods, like they can’t share the same airspace.

Scott Reid 26:13
That’s unbelievable. I would. Personally I just wouldn’t think of that. Yeah,

Matthew Baron 26:17
so a lot of places I went to a place near you that does granola. And they had to have the business in between their two businesses, one on one side of the building was Yeah, and the other one on the other side of the building was was gluten. And it was, it was so interesting to see. So and then I figured I just have different warehouses, right. So a different partner in different warehouse that did each certification. So you could choose which warehouse it came out of. You feel like that’s the future, especially as the certifications get more and more expensive. So the USDA Organic warehouse will be over here. And the kosher warehouse will be over here. Gluten Free warehouse would be over here, and you could click on them and they’d be different prices for the same 25 pound box. And so I’d have like four prices for 25 pound box.

Scott Reid 27:20
Interesting. So what type of what type of a of a difference would that be? Just in general? No, this is a really open ended question across all sorts of different. You know,

Matthew Baron 27:31
I’m glad you asked because I feel like it’s the future that’s coming for us. I feel like people are gonna start caring more about organic certification. You know, I’m Jewish, so the kosher certification was really important to me. But right now, only nine of my products are kosher certified, coming from a kosher certified warehouse. Okay. The USDA organic, I mean, you can picture a few things happening in the near future, where people are going to be concerned about their food and the way that they might not have been before. Certainly USDA organic certified uses less pesticides, not not none, but they use less of pesticides that are acceptable with USDA organic certification. I want to say it’s like 700 pesticides, it’s really crazy. You know, there’s, there’s probably going to be even another organic certification, like, from the ground in a laboratory, like walnuts grown in the most perfect condition. You know, that kind of thing? Well,

Scott Reid 28:39
I always wonder because I eat a ton of fruit, just in general. And as I mentioned before, a lot of a lot of nuts, and seeds. And when you’re buying blueberries this time of year in our neck of the woods, and everybody’s neck of the woods, a lot of it’s from Peru or Chile. And so I always wonder, okay, like this time here, I’m a little bit more hesitant. How much control and oversight is there in those countries as it relates to pesticides and that type of thing. Do you have any commentary on that? Any insight? They

Matthew Baron 29:15
want that USDA organic certification just like anybody else, okay. You know, I’m in Pennsylvania, and some of the Amish farmers, they actually have certified organic food in the middle of their field. And they surrounded by acres that are non organic certified that they can spray with pesticides, and so then they have four in the middle, a few acres in the middle that are organic certified.

Scott Reid 29:46
They don’t have a buffer like you have to win the warehouse.

Matthew Baron 29:49
Yeah, they just, they just have like a range of pesticide products. They sell the regular price and inside. They have us See a certified product that they can sell for twice as much? Wow.

Scott Reid 30:04
Yeah, I got to look into this stuff a little bit more. Yes.

Matthew Baron 30:07
My favorite is crop dusters. I mean, crop dusters that spray pesticides are unbelievably inaccurate. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a bit in fields and seen them spray fields. Hopefully not while I was in the field, but you get the idea. Yeah, yeah. I think that drones are really going to change that, you know, drone science is really going to be able to change the ability to spray crops, more scientifically,

Scott Reid 30:36
much more targeted and much more targeted focused. Yeah.

Matthew Baron 30:40
And a lot of these farms and farmland are I mean, intersect with other ones, and they have crazy angles. Like if you’ve ever seen those voting blocks, you don’t have a shut up and crazy angles. And yeah. What is it called? Gerrymandering? Yes. Like the areas are so crazy shape, you’re like, how did this ever happen? And so that’s true with farmland, the shapes of them. And so I think that the future is going to be, you know, robots getting in there and spraying those crops. So they don’t spray them from the air, because it is terribly inaccurate, is unreal, inaccurate? Yeah,

Scott Reid 31:23
it’d be good for the wildlife to that’s for sure.

Matthew Baron 31:25
I mean, it’s good for everybody. It’s like, a boat

Scott Reid 31:28
in terms of it. Thanks for that overview that was very educational, in terms of, of, of, of your business and how it operates. You mentioned SEO, and you touched on that a couple of different couple different times, you’ve mentioned that in terms of your skill sets, and the way that you’ve used SEO to to grow your business. Can you talk about that, or other technologies or tools that you’ve found to be helpful in, in growing your business, whether from a marketing standpoint, and or inventory management, those types of those types of things that, that our listeners may glean some insights from you, because clearly you you have a lot of experience in this in this realm. So

Matthew Baron 32:14
I’d like to start off with SEO. I’m a big fan of SEO, because it’s something that anyone can pick up on and learn. You know, I was I was privileged to work in advertising and getting a sense for it. early on. I never wanted to start an agency, I never wanted to be that person, who was just a one trick pony with it. You know, I like working with products, physical products to Yeah. So I just like a physical thing that people can taste and hold, you know. And so I would say probably the two insights I could give are, create a fast website. Right? When you’re working in one of these more common models like Squarespace or Wix, you get caught, you get stuck inside of a box. And so it’s harder for Google to read that. For me, and all my competitors were all in WordPress. And I am the fastest among my competitors, because I really focus on it, and blown way too much money on making it less than a second to load each page. But I can feel it when I’m when I’m traveling, when I’m going through different websites, I feel this feed right. And I think that, you know, people make their decision much better and faster as well, when the speed is, is really kicked up a notch.

Scott Reid 33:47
Yeah, absolutely.

Matthew Baron 33:51
And so that’s the advice that I usually end up giving to a lot of businesses, when I talk to them. You know, that advice is free. It’s the implementation that can be so challenging, right?

Scott Reid 34:03
It’s a moving target and technology breaks. So you have to stay on top of it. That’s the reality.

Matthew Baron 34:10
And then you have creative people who are building the website. So if they create a font that Google’s never seen before, Google has actually go to the place where the font is located, download the font, then go back to your website to actually load the page. Because because the creative the graphic designer wanted to use some fancy font because you like an example. Right? That’s a great example. Yeah, that kind of logic gets lost for people. That’s two seconds, which is endless. I’m trying to get a one second webpage over here. Right. So that is that is hopefully an insight that works for any business.

Scott Reid 34:52
That’s a great, great, great point. Yeah, it’s still it’s the little things that matter and one of those things is that you’re Pay, Josh actually has to load quickly. But yeah, people expect it,

Matthew Baron 35:08
it should get easier. Over time, it should, it should be getting easier, I can tell you that I spend $600 a month to have my website load in less than one second. That’s

Scott Reid 35:22
great. That sounds great. Thanks for sharing that too. Because that just underscores the importance of having a website that responds quickly and loads in a way that people can actually shop. Because it’s kind of like, if you think about it, from a brick and mortar standpoint, it’s like having a door to your to your business that isn’t like, you know, stuck and rusty and hard to Oak. I mean, it’s just very free flowing. And in terms of the entry point.

Matthew Baron 35:54
There’s nothing in my history that would make you think that I know anything about speed, in the way that webpages load, like I am from advertising marketing, like it’s not a skill set, you

Scott Reid 36:06
know, but it’s one of those things though, when you think about it, it’s just such an obvious basic function that you’re, it’s an obvious basic aspect of your of your website of your online presence, that just has to be dialed in at all times. It’s just a baseline expectation that every single human has using the internet in this day and age is speed. And, and the reality is that there’s such a low barrier to entry or to exit, or to find an alternative in today’s world. It’s not like, we’re out in the boondocks, and there’s no Internet, and there’s only one store that you can go to, or maybe two and that, if that if that stored isn’t working well. Or if that doors stuck, that it’s going to be a half an hour drive to the next location. That’s a barrier to going to to another business. In today’s world that just doesn’t exist. And and so what you’re talking about really underscores the, the need and the and the and the inherent benefit of having your website respond very quickly, so that people aren’t incented or pushed to go to a competitor. If it’s a there’s an inordinate delay. And I personally have a very, very low threshold for businesses that aren’t paying attention to those types of things. Personally.

Matthew Baron 37:36
There’s an old story. Michael Lewis wrote a book, I think one of his more popular books is called Flash boys. Have you ever heard of that?

Scott Reid 37:45
By chance? No, I’ve read a bunch of Lewis’s books. What’s it called, again?

Matthew Baron 37:48
Flat lash boys?

Scott Reid 37:50
No, I’m not familiar with that one. When it came out about 35 years ago, but

Matthew Baron 37:56
yeah, and I want to say this is the book he wrote after liars, poker. Just make it real short. Okay. When people would get information to the New York Stock Exchange from Chicago, it would have to a bunch of cities and points, right. And so we go from there. Oh, yeah, I

Scott Reid 38:15
did. Yes. i I’m sorry. I didn’t read the book. But I read a synopsis of it. So keep going. That’s a great, it’s a great analogy. So it was

Matthew Baron 38:23
like three guys who ran a company. And they just went through mountains, and just made a line and actual physical wire going from Chicago to New York. And so they got all the information, like two seconds faster. Yeah. And so these, like, for the for some amount of years, these guys are making like $6 million a month and pure profit just by having this wire, and they would have the service to other people. And they just made so much money over like two years before someone else figured it out. That it was just incredible. It was like an incredible story of like ingenuity and pain. And you had to cut through mountains, quite literally.

Scott Reid 39:09
The lack of speed right, or the the reality of what the of what the standard was at that time. That’s a great example. Yeah,

Matthew Baron 39:16
because it goes from city to city. So whatever the different cities are, up and down and back and forth, up and through here and down and around, and then and then we’ll hit New York Stock Exchange. Yeah.

Scott Reid 39:26
Yeah, that’s that’s that’s definitely a good example. How about any other any other technologies SEO website you said you’re on WordPress? Using WooCommerce,

Matthew Baron 39:39
I believe. Yeah, I’m using WordPress and WooCommerce. I guess the second piece that I would share which has been very eye opening when Amazon bought Whole Foods, I started to advertise Walker, my products on Amazon Um, over time the sales have gotten worse and worse and worse because everything is prime and I sell fresh food. So I’m it’s not built for selling fresh food. Prime is built for things sitting in a warehouse somewhere. That’s not my business. Yeah. But then Walmart came about walmart.com has been here and fighting. You know, like if you’re not in those places, you know, those are the two and number three. I also sell on Kroger. Kroger has like 27 websites of some kind, like all the supermarkets underneath them, they have a whole network of things I sell on Etsy and eBay, strangely enough, because almost all of my sales are tracked to people who buy, let’s say, fancy cutlery sets or what is the boards, the wood boards with the different dried fruits and nuts on it. Short shot, coterie charcuterie. So like if I’m right there with the charcuterie boards, making a sale, right? Then you have these, there’s a lot of people that are not restaurants that do charcuterie boards, right? Different events, people, corporate events, whatever, right charcuterie boards are just as popular nowadays, I didn’t see that coming. I also sell to the US military, but not involved in small amounts. Because the US military has a website just like Amazon, when COVID hit, they just realized that they just had their pants down. They spent the past four years trying to create websites that serve as like an Amazon for military families. Now, the downside for that is is that I have no idea who I’m sending my products to. Right, they don’t give me an address, they just give me a barcode, okay. And so I have no idea where it’s going, it could go overseas, it could go left and raid or north and south, there’s just put in the mailbox and it just goes to whatever military family is going to that’s

Scott Reid 42:09
really interesting that you have that’s a very diverse, wide range and large quantity of distribution networks that you’re that you’re that you’re leveraging did that. Is that something that? And I would imagine that it isn’t something that’s developed over time. Is it been kind of like, how’s that progression been in terms of identifying these these these different chat sales channels? Essentially? I think what did you start? What when you first did it? Was it just the website? I mean, it was no one I started with

Matthew Baron 42:43
a website, I start with a website. So the first few years, it was just like, how can we get this thing to rank? How can we get this thing, you know, forward and all of that. And then, you know, COVID really showed me a lot honestly, like COVID kind of expanded? You know, these affiliates of all kinds. And, you know, they’ve they’ve changed them push back, certainly over the years. I mean, walmart.com, I don’t think was in the in the game when COVID started, you know, but then it took right off. I mean, I’m currently selling more on walmart.com. And I want to Amazon here because Amazon loves prime, they much focus the whole thing on prime. Yeah. But the thing is, is that there’s no cost to be in the game, you know, they charge you when a product sells, right, same thing with WooCommerce, who paid the credit card fee. Like I said, I paid money each month to make sure it’s fast and the other half the services, but like I don’t pay every month that much, I think 40 hours to Amazon every month, I mean, anything to Walmart or Etsy or eBay, I think maybe 10 $20 a month. And it’s, it’s great, you know, because you can see that the other competitors are there, you can see that people are buying, they tell you what the sales are. So you just have to follow where your competitors are. And that’s easy enough. They know. And then you just have to hope that ecommerce is going to grow. That ecommerce is going to be big for people that live in the country, that people that can’t get access to a supermarket that they’re going to be less supermarkets in a desert. I’m

Scott Reid 44:31
sorry, what was that? food

Matthew Baron 44:32
desert? Yeah. Which just means that people can’t get nutritious food, right, but there’s no one doing what I’m doing in like, carrots or broccoli. Right. Or apples, right? Is it is it easy to buy 50 pounds of apples? No, this doesn’t sound like something I’ve come across. Yeah,

Scott Reid 44:52
I haven’t seen that lately. Yeah. How about in terms of in terms of scaling, have there been any strategies, any challenges that you encountered during during scaling, you talk about that,

Matthew Baron 45:06
I actually have no insights to give about scaling. Food, and especially the food that I offer is, is completely commoditized. Anything, I can go to a supermarket tomorrow and get a 50 pounds of walnuts, I would literally take the container, and I can pull it out like this, you know, and take all the bags, and just pull them out, you know, there’s, there’s no lack of the food that I sell. You know, and customers are willing to pay for quality, for sure. But it’s a commodity. And also, I don’t have to worry about the pricing. Because I’m not the farmer, I’m not the processor, right, I’m just a person who lays it out. And a lot of my competitors, what they do is they just say call this number, you know, and I’m like, what your rotary telephone, like they weren’t Freising. People waiting out there. You know, just put the price out there, they’ll figure it out. They want it, they don’t have to call you they don’t have to fill out forms. So

Scott Reid 46:11
a lot of your competitors, it’s the pricing in that in that process, at least in terms of placing the order. It’s it’s something that it sounds like it’s, it’s challenging with some of your competitors. For

Matthew Baron 46:29
sure. I mean, even when I started NuSTAR, calm, they just wanted people to call like a phone number. It’s like, Oh, do you want a 25 pound? Well, no problem. Just give us a call.

Scott Reid 46:39
How long? How long back? Are we talking about? Oh,

Matthew Baron 46:42
it just before COVID I mean, probably like a year or two into COVID for they realized that people want 25 pound boxes, you know, and their prices were just either so high, or they were just like, give us a call and we’ll give you a better price, that kind of thing. You know, I am trying to be unique and offering a fresh product for the lowest price. Um, but you know, that’s not really up to me, which is great. Because it helps me sleep at night to not worry about the price of the cards. Yeah,

Scott Reid 47:18
right. Exactly. It is what it is one of the things that you talked about the future of food, and we’ve talked about fresh food, could you talk about what your thoughts are in terms of the future of food.

Matthew Baron 47:33
Um, I think the certifications are going to be really interesting. If people are going to want to pay more for certain certifications, people are just going to care more about their food being Kosher or law or glute certified gluten free. Those gluten free certifications are there. You know, and you’re going to pay for every bit of that, you know, there’s a human there to check in on that. Even tested in with real scientists with lab coats on, you know, I think there’s going to be even more expensive certifications for not having any pesticides, that kind of thing. Maybe I think you’ve heard about vertical gardens as an example. You know, they’re taking over old industrial places and like laying out like lettuce, and spinach and broccoli and tomatoes and blueberries. Like I think that stuff will be more expensive. Yeah. Not growing in the field.

Scott Reid 48:34
Yeah, I’ve noticed that actually. There’s a there’s a farm in Maine or some type of production facility in Maine that that grows tomatoes. And we get them in market basket and the pricing of those it has to be because I mean, he’s a fresh tomatoes in February. That’s not happening in Maine right now. So they have to be grown inside. And there’s definitely a premium on those without a doubt of what you’re getting from say like California this time of year.

Matthew Baron 49:08
Yeah, I mean, strawberries, for sure are going to be more like year round. I saw a video on like the big strawberry company where strawberries are the only food that they put into containers on the the actual farm. So they come out with all the plastic containers and they walk into the actual, like containers and get in the market. They just go right to market from there. Really? Yeah, there’s a process or not wash. They just like they just have them out there. They get the milk container and they go right to the market. No kidding. Wow. Yeah. And that’s the only one they do. So there’s so many different ways that they grow. Not only that, but there’s gonna be different foods right? They talk about fish that are becoming extinct and other fish that are taking its place only that are going to become more common. Like tarp, you know, things like that. And she was like, nuts and dried fruit. I think that you know, California is not going to last forever not getting people water and instead giving nuts water.

Scott Reid 50:14
Which could take a lot of if I’m not mistaken. A lot of those may be speaking incorrectly on this. But I want to say that I read something about, I forget what it was. But anyway, the amount of water that some of these some of these plants consume is just mind bending.

Matthew Baron 50:35
Yeah, I wanted to do a commercial with a dolmens inside of like a kiddie pool of water. pouring water on itself in front of a map of California.

Scott Reid 50:45
Maybe that’s what it was. Maybe it was like an almond tree or something. But

Matthew Baron 50:51
so what he thinks it could change what we actually eat in the next 10 years, right. And there’s things that we’d never that we didn’t eat before. Like we didn’t really eat almonds or broccoli, but they didn’t really exist is something you could just eat. They were dangerous.

Scott Reid 51:06
Yeah, and I’m old enough to remember to, you know, in the winter months, we didn’t have like, orange, it was a big deal. If somebody went to Florida and they brought back, like in February, let’s say they brought back a carton of oranges, because you just didn’t get them in the grocery store. Or when you did that was just It was nasty. Or it wasn’t maybe that nasty is the wrong word. But they weren’t nearly as juicy as they were from the Florida now we’re getting that same quality. And that’s, you know, and call it 3035 years.

Matthew Baron 51:38
Yeah, and what’s popular is little oranges. There’s little nectar green kind of orange.

Scott Reid 51:43
Oh, yeah. Yeah, the clementines the man. Love those. Now,

Matthew Baron 51:46
I think because they taste fresher too. In digital taste better. Bananas are one that I don’t think are long for this world. I think maybe in 510 years, there’ll be really hard to find a banana

Scott Reid 51:58
really was just because you do dried bananas. If

Matthew Baron 52:02
I offer dried bananas, and so I did a lot of research on it. There’s a something called Panama disease that hit in the 50s really hard. So we used to have tons of bananas, different kinds of bananas. And the most popular one was called a Big Jim, in the 50s that sort of everyone ate. And now we need Cavendish because of Panama disease. Oh, yeah. So it could it could easily wipe out crops. When you see farmers in banana fields. They have like full hazmat suits, like full suits, with like the white booties, and the head gear and everything. I mean, they’re out in those fields protected, trying to save, you know, every bit from Panama disease because they can just row banana crops. Yeah. And so that I think there’s a lot of diseases like that, but we just haven’t discovered them. All. Right. So now we’re growing like, trouble with the Amazon. Right? So Brazil nuts are an issue. But it just changes and evolves. Right? Yeah. For me, if the products get more expensive, that’s a good thing for me. Yeah. Because people are spending more on the things they love. But also, you know, people will not Eat Brazil nuts, like cashews instead, you know, as shoes have their own problem with farmers protesting you know? Yeah, that’s really interesting to see, see cashew farmers with their writing their machines through like, you know, India and England. They’re just like, you know, protesting, you know, the farmers are protesting.

Scott Reid 53:38
Really interesting. Check that out. So what are your What are your future plans for your, for your business? Moving forward? Um,

Matthew Baron 53:47
I really think that the channels are really important for what I’m doing, I think that ecommerce is going to grow. I don’t think that’s anyone’s surprise. I think supermarkets are going to shrink. So that is hopefully upward pressure on my business where people want fresh 25 pound boxes. So you know, and just being inside of a trend, I think that every year more people wouldn’t be healthy. Yeah. And so they’re figuring out how to be healthy. They’re looking at a KitKat bar, and they’re saying, I don’t know, what’s the nutritional value on this thing. I’ve never read the ingredients of a KitKat bar. And let

Scott Reid 54:29
me have a handful of almonds instead. And I’m going to it’s going to curb my hunger and I’m going to feel good and I’m not going to have that sugar let down shortly thereafter.

Matthew Baron 54:38
Terrible breakfast idea for sure. I’ll stick with blueberries and walnuts. Yeah, so that future is coming. Certainly the certain like instability through the world. You know, there are more American stuff next than There used to be, right. I think that cities might might get less popular. So people need more food out in the out in the suburbs in the country. What else? I mean, there’s all kinds of like great innovations, you know, I feel like I’m not anywhere close to catching all the mobile customers. So they have, you know, the mobile experience will keep changing and evolving. And that’s almost like building your website for the way you want it. You know, mobile is always going to be a challenge. Yeah.

Scott Reid 55:38
Absolutely. Well, great. Is there anything else that you wanted to we covered a ton I learned I personally learned a ton over the last almost hour that we’ve been speaking while we’ve been speaking a little bit longer than that. But I’ve, as a big fan of fruit, nuts, seeds. I definitely educated myself. And I hope and I trust, I don’t hope I’m quite confident that anybody listen to the episode also learned quite a bit from Baron. Anything else you’d like to add?

Matthew Baron 56:05
Scott only only one thing. Check out the blog. For the past 13 months, I’ve been writing about food history. I just go into libraries, going into books, looking at the history of farming, but the history of, you know, apple pie and how that’s evolved. And you know, all the different strategies and logistics and food, you know, and all that. So, yeah, I think that the blog is really where my heart is. And I get a lot of readers. I don’t get a lot of customers from it as much, but I, I really believe that that kind of education is like what the website is here for.

Scott Reid 56:49
You are what you eat, right? Yeah, for sure. So that’s an old advertising campaign from way back.

Matthew Baron 56:56
Keep an eye out for the return of Mr. Pina trying to, you know, find his way or the almonds. Taking a shower.

Scott Reid 57:07
I will, I will for sure. Well, thanks very much parent. I really appreciate you being a guest on the on the show today. And we will talk to you soon. And oh, by the way, what’s the website? We got to talk about the website? If people want to find you, they can go to

Matthew Baron 57:24
wholesale nuts and dried fruit.com.

Scott Reid 57:27
Okay, excellent. Wholesale nuts and dried fruit.com. We’re gonna put a link to the show notes to the site in the show notes, and some other information as well. So thank you, thank you very much again, I really appreciate it. And here’s to a lot of fruit, nut and seed eating moving forward. Thank

Matthew Baron 57:49
you, everybody.

Scott Reid 57:49
Thanks a lot.